Monday, June 30, 2008

RogueAmoeba disses users, kinda—but appeases me

I have a question about one of the little freebie software items by RogueAmoeba, a little menubar utility called SoundSource that should make it much easier to switch between audio source inputs and outputs, faster than going through the Mac OS's System Preferences Sound panel. The thing just doesn't do what I'm lead to believe it's supposed to. I find scant little info on their site about SoundSource, so I post my questions in the comments section of a blog entry dedicated to it.

Somebody who has access to the blog admin panel has been exercising some strong douchebaggery-fu, and has been deleting my questions. So I sent them (the CEO and The CTO) an email, as they request, asking about the deletions, and about their reasoning for doing so.

More will be added to this entry when—and if—I receive a reply from them.

1 July 2008 - received reply and explantion from Quentin Carnicelli. Click link for full story ⇒

Anyway, just for posterity's sake—and for the joyful consumption by Google-Spiders, here's the full text of my email to them:

    Subject: Regarding SoundSorce UI and behavior...
    From: Phos... <email address redacted>
    Date: Mon, 30 Jun 2008 12:49:48 -0400
    To: Paul Kafasis <email address redacted>, Quentin Carnicelli <email address redacted>

    Riddle me this, Paul & Quentin...

    First off, please understand that I'm not usually an obsessive stalkerazzi when I feel my usually-intelligent dispatches are ignored. I'll generally assume that the recipient is busy, or that what's important to me may not seem as imoprtant to them. So be it, and so it goes...that's my usual reaction.

    But in this case—where I see a utility that looks to provide me with a function that would make my workflow so much more efficient—How am I being SOOO out of line by asking for some open clarification about the functioning of SoundSource that you or one of the RogueAmoeba minions has continued to remove my posts from the blog entry dedicated to it?

    I'll reiterate (edited for clarification):

    What the heck is wrong with you people?

    You removed my first questions, posted to this page on 28 June, and offered no answers, nor an explanation for my initial post's removal.

    Then you removed my post bringing the deletion into question.

    And YES, I see your request for direct contact . I'm not asking about a bug, because I had no problem installing, or accessing the SoundSource menulet. I was asking about why your software doesn't do what it says on the tin. Or, if I'm expecting a behavior that hasn't been built in to it, then why don't I see any info about that fact on this site?

    Do you NOT realize that by addressing questions on an open forum you may save yourselves the hassle of answering the same questions over and over and over again? I looked for FAQs pertaining to SoundSource, and I used your site's search function. I came up empty, except for the product page and the blog entry.

    If you addressed my questions within the comments of the blog entry, the next person coming along who is experiencing the same thing might be able to find their answer WITHOUT having to contact you directly, thus saving you time and effort.

    Or are you worried about bad mojo surrounding SoundSource showing up in Google searches or permeating the net via RSS feeds?

    Granted, SoundSource is "merely" a freebie, and I can understand not dedicating a whole lot of energy toward it compared to your other, commercial products. But to go out of your way to DELETE the questions, rather then address them seems like a rather silly way to waste energy to me.

    If someone took the time to delete my initial post in which I laid out all the pertinent details—along with providing a screen dump—then I'll assume that info is already understood. If you need me to provide that info again, I will. But I'll wait to see what kind of response I get from this email.

    I'd welcome any commentary and/or insight—both on SoundSource's behavior and my own. You can even call me an asshole for my presumptions if you'd like. It's OK, I'm a 49-year-old big boy and I can take it. ;-) :-D
1 July 2008 - UPDATE: What follows is the reply I received from Quentin Carnicelli, RogueAmoeba's CTO:
    Subject: Re: Regarding SoundSorce UI and behavior...
    From: "Quentin D. Carnicelli" <email address redacted>
    Date: Tue, 1 Jul 2008 00:03:03 -0400

    You are not missing anything. This is a bug in SoundSource or MacOS X (depending on ones perspective of things).

    Some background: On MacOS X, each "Audio Device" can be comprised of multiple "Sources". For example on your eMac, you have a "Built-In" audio device that has an "Internal Mic" and "Line In" source.

    The problem is, sometimes these "sources" are to be displayed as individual choices (as in your case), and sometimes they are to be treated as a single unit whose choice is determined by the audio hardware (for example the new dual Analog/Digital input jacks on MacBooks). MacOS gives us no way to determine which is the correct choice, displaying all the Sources, or displaying them as one big merged Source. This is especially troubling on G5s, as they have a Built-In device which has 2 sources that are to be merged and 1 that isn't. But again, the OS provides us no mechanism that we know of to correctly
    display them.

    But you say, the Sound Preference in System Preference displays them correctly! And we believe Apple has hard coded logic on a per-machine basis to make this work. We've sent requests to them asking how they do it, but have never heard back (and at this point, don't really expect to). So we are kind of stuck, we can't correctly display the list of audio devices without making compromises we don't want to make.

    The real downside for you is, this problem only affects PPCs. On Intel everything works correctly out of the box. So we have declining incentive to bang our heads against the problem to figure out a solution (doubly so since it is a freebie).

    If Apple ever addresses the problem, we'll put out of a fix, but in the meantime we wait...

Well, it's not a happy answer, but at least it's more info than I was able to find on the RogueAmoeba website. Hopefully, they'll add this info to some FAQ section on their site, because I surely can't be the only one who has run into this brick wall. I really kind of surprised the info isn't there already.

Oh, and their crappy little character "icon" for their freebies still looks like it was done by a 6th-grader. YUK!

No comments: